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Letters to the Editor

March 20, 2009

Help American LL find '49 players, memorabilia



To the editor:

I am asking for the assistance of your readers. American Little League will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Little League Baseball in Hagerstown this season. I am attempting to locate information about that first year and players and managers from the 1949 season.

I have learned Harry Bottorf was introduced to the idea of forming a league in Hagerstown while attending the Little League World Series in August 1948. Carl Stotz was the friend who suggested the idea and offered his assistance in organizing the league. The first meeting was held on March 18, 1949,at the WJEJ radio studio; on April 12, 1949, the Hagerstown Little League was formally organized. Harry Bottorf was the first president, with Greg Callas as vice president and Ed Kemp serving as secretary-treasurer.

The Hagerstown Park Board provided the league with a lot on Mill Street (now known as The Paul Brandenburg Field). Registration was held in Hager Park with more than 500 applicants being received. Tryouts were held on May 10, 1949, to seek a maximum of 15 boys who could be assigned to each of four teams. The team sponsors were The Eagles Club, Massey Auto, The Fraternal Order of Police and the YMCA. The season opened on June 6, 1949, with a parade including all the players in uniform led by a high school band (I assume Hagerstown High School).

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At the end of that first season, it was apparent that expansion was in order, and the only solution was to form another league. Sponsors were abundant; the organization was restructured with a president and vice president to run each league. In keeping with Major League Baseball tradition, American League was the name chosen for the league that remained at the Mill Street location.

I would welcome any information your readers might have, and would appreciate the opportunity to obtain copies of any photographs from the early seasons. I would also like to obtain the names of the players, and managers from the 1949 season, as well as current addresses.

Finally, I would like to extend an invitation to all former players, managers, and league presidents to attend our opening day ceremonies on Saturday, April 4, at 10 a.m. at Paul Brandenburg Field on Mill Street.

Andrew Lighter, president American Little LeagueHagerstown




With diapers, kindness, Baby Basics helps



To the editor:

It is easy to become jaded in our current economic times. All over the news is just more bad news. Sometimes it is easy to believe that we no longer have the ability to care for one another.

But then, along comes something that can restore your faith in a community's ability to take care of those who may be a little less fortunate.

I hope you have heard of Baby Basics of Greater Hagerstown. This is a group that has worked diligently to make a difference for babies. "Offering Diapers and Kindness" is the Baby Basics motto.

Working families who just need a little assistance are those who are helped by this organization. All of the donations received go directly toward the purchase of diapers. More than 67,000 diapers have been distributed by this all-volunteer organization since it began in January 2007. The space used to store and distribute the diapers is generously donated by Girls Inc.

Baby Basics is supported by contributions from various foundations and trusts, community organizations like the Exchange Club of Antietam, community churches and individual community members, all of whom want to make a difference in Washington County.

So, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who believes that, with diapers and kindness, we really can make a difference.

Mary McPhersonpresidentboard of directorsBaby Basics of Greater Hagerstown Inc.1601 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21742

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